The best way to grow Cowpeas (kunde) for super profits


The search for a fast-growing crop with good returns and a faster growth rate has attracted a lot of farmers into farming indigenous vegetables such as cowpea leaves (Kunde).

Though there are some farmers who may prefer farming cow peas for seeds, especially in arid areas, the majority in wet areas, prefer farming cow peas for their leaves.

There is a huge demand for indigenous vegetables as consumers are becoming more sensitive to their diet.

However, market prices for vegetables are volatile and keep changing with weather changes and the availability of other vegetables such as cabbages.

Demand for crop proteins such as legumes and cowpeas seeds has stabilized cowpeas seeds prices with a kilo retailing at ksh.250-300.

How to grow Kunde (cowpea leaves)

Kunde takes 21 to 45 days from sowing to mature depending on soil fertility and management.

They do require fertile well-drained soils with a lot of manure for faster growth.

Actually, in most cases, they don’t require fertilizers which makes kunde the cheapest crop to farm.

There are two varieties commonly referred to by farmers as the “black seed” and the “brown seed’.

The “black seed’ variety is the most preferred as it grows faster with big leaves.

Cowpea (Kunde) leaves

For cowpea seeds, the common varieties are Katumani 80 (K 80) and Machakos 66 (M 80).

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Sowing is done on furrows with a spacing of 15cm by 5cm for kunde and 25cm by 25cm for cowpeas seeds.

In the dry season, irrigation is required at least once per day depending on hotness and soil water retention ability.

How to control pests and diseases

Cutworms and burgs may infest the crop after germination cutting the base or the leaves.

Spraying or drenching with Match Insecticides controls both bugs, cutworms or aphids that may attack the crop in dry seasons.

Organically, they can be controlled by spraying or drenching with neem oil, aloe vera, pepper and garlic solution though it may not be effective as the use of synthetic insecticides.

Black spots, blight and downy mildew are common diseases in cold seasons or in crops irrigated at night.

Spraying with Redomil gold or Infinito fungicides prevents early infestation.

Kunde can be harvested within one month of planting and therefore does not require much spraying unless in extreme cases.

But for cowpeas seeds which may take over 90 days from sowing spraying against these diseases and pests is necessary.

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In dry seasons, cowpea leaves farming can have over 200% profit but in wet months it rarely hits 20% depending on production.

This does not mean you cannot make losses, you can as a result of total crop failure.

Therefore, as a farmer, before planting it is good to consider your timing by identifying when prices are high in your market.

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